Tuesday, January 5, 2010

What to Do When God Doesn’t Play By the Rules

By S. Michael Durham

There are times in the journey of faith that God does not fit any mold, rhyme or reason. Whatever you have learned about faith is challenged. The lessons learned are torpedoed, not by the devil, but by the Lord Himself. He acts outside of the box. Why is that? Well, might it be, He’s outside of the box?

Faith cannot be a formula. Reduce faith to an equation and you will have no faith. Just because I have outlined lessons I have learned about faith over the years in this series on faith does not mean that faith can be mechanized. Faith in God is nothing more than relationship with God. To make a formula out a relationship is to effectively kill the relationship. Faith is to be in the person of Jesus, not some rules or principles.

I think we forget the Lord God is a Person. And like a person, He wants to be loved and trusted for who He is and not only for what He can do. His acts are an outflow of who He is, but do I love Him mainly and mostly because of what He does for me, or do I love Him mainly and mostly for who He is? If I loved my wife primarily because she prepared my meals, washed my clothes and satisfied desires for intimacy, then my love looks more like selfishness. Exploiting someone cannot be called love and it cannot have anything to do with faith. We are to love the Lord God and therefore trust Him for His character and nature. This is the way good relationships work.

Therefore, sometimes the Lord does not confine Himself to our contrived rules about faith. He throws us a curve, if you please, and watches how we will respond. If my faith is in my formula I will respond with unbelief and despair, perhaps even anger because He didn’t perform to my standard. But if my confidence is in Him and His inability to be anything but good, I will maintain faith in Him. Should Christ give me health I will trust Him, and should He give me sickness I will trust Him. If He answers my prayer I will thank Him and if He does not answer I will thank Him. Yes, I will thank Him because I am persuaded that He is too good to be unkind to me.

I know that doesn’t make a good formula for faith, but to me there can be no other way faith works. Either you trust God or you don’t. You either believe in Him as a person or you don’t. If you put your faith in His person, then the more you know Him the more your faith will increase.

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